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BERIN VS BARTE

Judge who acted as agent in


sale = guilty of Canon 5.02
- Complaint for grave and serious misconduct against
Judge Barte of MCTC of Antique
- Berin and Alorro = real estate agents
- Judge Barte invited them to his office and asked them
to look for a vendor of a lot for sale in Antique because
the Manila Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints, Inc. wanted to buy a site for its
church in Antique.
- Complainants claim that they found a vendor, Eleanor
M. Checa-Santos, who owned a lot consisting of 4,000
square meters
- They told the judge about the lot; that judge informed
them three days later that the Church was willing to
pay P2.3 million for the lot; that judge agreed that
complainants would each receive a commission
of P100,000.00 in case the sale took place; and judge
Barte would receive the money from the vendee and
then deliver the share of each of the complainants.
- Complainants said they wanted to have the agreement
in writing, but respondent judge refused, saying, Do
you have no trust in your Judge Barte? à hence, no
written agreement was made
- The sale was consummated but the judge only gave
them 10k as commission, telling them to take it or
leave it
- The judge denied the charges against him and said
that he never invited the complainants to his office à
he averred that the Church had already purchased the
lot and had paid 50% of the purchase price prior to the
alleged meeting
- He also denied that he agreed to pay complainants
100k à he sad that he only gave them money (7k for
Berin and 12k for Alorro) since he was able to get
some information about the sale but they never
contributed to the success of the transaction
- He also claims that he cannot be made admin liable
since the act complained of does not pertain to the
performance of his official function
- Office of Court Admin: Judge X liable because X
relation to official duty but violated Canon 5, Rule 5.02
of Code of Judicial Conduct hence should be fined 5k

W/N the Judge Barte is guilty


for violation of Canon 5.02 of
the Code of Judicial Conduct
(whether respondent judge
committed an impropriety in
acting as a broker in the sale
of a real estate, for which he
admits receiving a
commission)

YES! GUILTY!
- Article 14 of the Code of Commerce prohibits
members of the judiciary and prosecutors from
engaging in commerce within their jurisdiction.
- However, in Macaruta v. Asuncion, it was held
that Art. 14 is in the nature of political law and
since it was extended to this country by Spain it
was necessarily abrogated upon the change of
sovereignty from Spain to the United States
- Rule 5.02. A judge shall refrain from financial
and business dealings that tend to reflect
adversely on the courts impartiality, interfere
with the proper performance of judicial activities,
or increase involvement with lawyers or persons
likely to come before the court. A judge should
so manage investments and other financial
interests as to minimize the number of cases
giving grounds for disqualification.
- This provision thus supplies the void left by the
abrogation of Art. 14 of the Spanish Code of
Commerce.
- By allowing himself to act as agent in the sale of
the subject property, respondent judge has
increased the possibility of his disqualification to
act as an impartial judge in the event that a
dispute involving the said contract of sale
arises. Also, the possibility that the parties to
the sale might plead before his court is not
remote and his business dealings with them
might [not only] create suspicion as to his
fairness but also to [his ability to] render it in a
manner that is free from any suspicion as to its
fairness and impartiality, and also as to the
judges integrity
- A similar complaint is pending against the judge
- GUILTY OF VIOLATION OF 5.02 CODE OF
JUDICIAL CONDUCT à 2K FINE